In Peru, a venture on the Net helps sow a better crop
LIMA, PERU, 23 June 2005
The Agrarian Information System (known as SIA, from its initials in Spanish) helps to technically solve problems in the collection and digitalization of ‘statements of intent’ to sow in the Huaral Valley.
Huaral borders the region of Peru’s national capital of Lima, and is situated just north of the department of Lima. APC member, the Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES, or Peruvian Center for Social Studies), worked on this project for agricultural information via the internet for farmers of the Board of Users of the Valley of Chancay – Huaral.
This project aims to directly benefit — through a local agricultural information system via the internet — some 6,000 poor farmers, the majority of whom own small properties which they run presently in a subsistence economy.
Until 2003, the collection of ‘statements of intent’ to sow –- part of the Farming and Irrigation Plan of the Ministry of Agriculture -– was done manually.
This lead to errors in data recorded on filing cards; it also spelt a wait of up to six months for information to become available -– in digital format -– to the Board of Irrigation Users and others.
This year, the SIA is aiding the process of digitalizing these forms. In addition, the statements themselves are being received directly through the system, thus both saving time and reducing the workload on personnel.
In addition, data collection is being decentralized through the telecentres, which are also a part of the SIA project, being carried out by the Chanca-Huaral Board of Irrigation Users and CEPES.
SIA’s information validation system allows it to detect errors made while filling out the forms. Previously, the procedure allowed erroneous information to be accepted and stored in the database.
These errors, generally related to the use of fields with different crops at different moments, and triggered off further errors in the projection, administration and distribution of the irrigation water in the valley.